Friday Firsts : Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Adventures of Owl #3) by Kristi Charish

Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This Friday I’m reading : Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Adventures of Owl #3) by Kristi Charish

owlHave you ever had a deep-seated feeling that the world is out to get you?

And I don’t mean for doing something where you might actually deserve it: I mean the kind that happens despite your best intentions to be a good person, turn over a new leaf, and potentially make up for a possible – though clearly not intentional – slight you may have done others…

And even though you may be doing your damnedest to fix things, including crossing the globe twice in the last month, you could feel that the universe still decided it was going to tell you that you could royally fuck off?

You know, that kind of “out to get you” feeling?

Because from this side of the backpacker hostel picnic table, sitting across from my Nepal contact, Dev, that was pretty much the vibe I was getting.  To be honest, it was the vibe I’d been getting all month, like gum getting tangled in your hair.

My First Impressions

I think that beginning is a perfect start for the book and a great reflection of the series as well.  You can tell already, even from those first few lines, that things are going to go horribly wrong.

What you reading this Friday??  What are your first impressions??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.

Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish

Last year I read Owl and the Japanese Circus, the start of a new fantasy series combining archaeology and the supernatural.  The series main protagonist is Alix Hiboux, otherwise known as Owl – an international antiquities thief.  Owl wasn’t always a thief, she was a grade A student until her work and reputation were left in tatters by her professor and she turned to a different route to stay afloat.

The world here is full of supernatural creatures all hiding in plain sight and although Alix has no love for the supes her natural lack of ability to detect their presence means she now has a boyfriend who is an icubus, a boss and his sidekick who are a dragon and naga respectively, a gaming buddie who is an elf and a bunch of vampires out for her blood (pun intended!) after she accidentally killed their main ‘poobah’.

The focus of the plot here boils down to the fact that a number of ancient items have been stolen from the City of the Dead and due to her previous reckless behaviour the Owl is the chief suspect. In order to mollify her new boss, and prevent him from toasting her alive, Owl undertakes to try and retrieve the aforementioned items and also to try and uncover the real thief who seems hellbent on framing her. Now, these items are cursed, which is bad enough as anybody who touches them usually drops dead within the week, add to that the fact that they are owned by a siren and have also drawn the attention of the vampires and you can see that things are about to get intense!

i do like this series. So far it’s a bunch of fast paced adventures among temples and ruins with mummies and other critters coming out of the woodwork. The author has a great imagination and a crazy sense of fun. She’s not afraid to chuck anything into the mix and the constant sense of anticipation, fast flowing plot and comedy-esque type capers make an excellent combination.

I really enjoy the concept and the Indiana Jane feel of the books.  I love that we have a series that takes us to all sorts of exotic places and brings to the pages mummies and curses and other weird and wonderful things.  There’s also such a lot of scope yet for the series to develop and whilst I wouldn’t say Owl develops massively this time around I do think the cast of supporting characters are coming together very nicely indeed and I also enjoy the way that the author is slowly revealing little pieces of Alix’s past whilst at the same time revealing more about the supernatural world that she is now surrounded by.

in terms of criticism. Well, oddly, Alix is the main one.  I have a hard time seeing her as an international thief. Everybody recognises her, she rushes blindly into any number of situations and, frankly, she’s about as subtle as a hippo on skis.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the comedy aspect that her bungling brings to the novel, I quite like that she’s a bit of a beer guzzling potty mouth who isn’t about to kiss ass even if her life is under threat but her ‘whoops I’ve triggered a death trap so better run at great speed’ mantra does puzzle me sometimes’.  That being said, this is very much a tongue in cheek type read, it isn’t intended to be deep and meaningful but more a whole bunch of crazy running about and causing turmoil. If you go into the series with that in mind then you’re in for some fun.

I enjoyed the plot and the whole inclusion of pirates and other elements that I won’t go into.  I had a bit of a wobble at one point where everything did seem to become a bit convoluted but on the whole I thought this was a great second in series with a surprising ending, that I really didn’t see coming, that provides a great set up for the next book.  Treat yourself to some fun.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Just finished reading Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish.  This is a very entertaining and fast paced archeological adventure come urban fantasy story.  It will definitely put you in mind of a female Indiana with a large dose of supernatural thrown in for good measure.  The story starts as a the hunt for an ancient artefact but along the way develops into a struggle to survive with an element of romance – only a tad though so don’t let that put you off.

At the start of the story we’re introduced to Alix, an ex archeological student who showed great promise until things went horribly wrong and she was cast out on her ear.  Forced to use her skills in the only way now possible Alix turned to a life of crime stealing from archeological sites on request – she’s now known as The Owl – an international thief and she’s not only on the top of the authorities most wanted list but she also seems to have come to the attention of a few unsavoury characters who are frankly not too concerned whether she’s found dead or alive!

Alix is an interesting character to read.  I don’t think she’s my favourite of the story as I think that spot is probably reserved for her best friend Nadya, but she is good to read.  Not always taking the wisest course of action and not afraid to stand up for herself she’s a tad standoffish, a little awkward in social situations and clearly not always the best judge of character – she certainly struggles to identify the supernatural elements of the story which makes her rule ‘of never working with them’ a little tricky!  But, I liked her and I think there’s lots of room for more character development in future instalments.  At the moment, yes, she could probably learn when to hold her tongue but I like that she has a bit of sass.

So, Alix, despite her best intentions becomes involved with Mr. Kurosawa, owner of a casino in Vegas and more importantly a powerful and incredibly old and strong dragon.  Why is Alix breaking her own rules and agreeing to work with this character – well, he’s agreed to negotiate a deal to get the vampires off her back.  Kind of feels like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire but…. that’s the deal – and it’s signed in blood.  Now it just remains for Alix to find an incredibly ancient artefact with very few clues and a host of enemies who appear more often than not to be one step ahead!

I really liked the setting for the story and the archeological elements plus there were some very interesting supernaturals thrown into the pot along with the more regular vampires.  Obviously the dragon, a few angry ghosts, a demon and a naga!

In terms of criticisms, nothing major really.  I think there were a couple of threads in the story that remain unsolved but this is the first in series so that’s probably not an issue at this point.  We are told that Alix is the best in her field but I’m not quite sure why – it feels a little bit flimsy at this point and I’m not a fan of simply being told that someone is the best – I’d like a little ‘show’ along with the tell.  But, having said that, I don’t think I would have been too interested in the story being bogged down with massive amounts of technical detail – so, yeah, it is a fine line.

On the whole though I really enjoyed this, it kept me reading into the early hours to complete and I will definitely continue with the series plus we ended with the perfect set up for the next story!

I received a copy of this courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Snakes and Snark….

Art it Up.  This is a weekly meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. this week I’ve read Tainted Blood (part of the Generation V series by M L Brennan which I’m loving and Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish which I’ve also really enjoyed and will post a review for shortly.  The Charish book had a Naga – won’t say more – which is a half woman/half snake character.  I’m also using inspiration from this week’s Tough Travel over at The Fantasy Review Barn where the topic is ‘Snarky Sidekicks’ – the picture here is actually where one of my characters resides and the lights are on – which means he’s at home – any guesses?? FullSizeRender-15FullSizeRender-13